The MassGOP… is dead.

My fellow Republicans: there is no way that the impact of what happened can be softened by an explanation of circumstances. The Republican brand, on a national level, is now, obviously, completely incompatible with the mainstream political culture of this state. That brand has been created to satisfy constituent groups that are in the South and West of America. It has little to do with us, and we cannot do very much to control it. Brown and Tisei couldn’t get far enough away from it to win, and as polls and advertisements made clear, it was that connection that hurt them most.

It seems clear to me that it is no longer possible for a Republican to win congressional or statewide office. It is not important that you can, in your mind, sketch out the perfect candidate, circumstances, timing, and opponent to conjure up a theoretical win for a high office in this state.

Also, we lost House seats (Rob, you owe me a case of beer next time you’re in Cleveland Circle) and there is no prospect of gaining Senate seats anywhere in the near future.

We are, at this point, a regional party with lots of problems, a brand that is toxic, little money, and not much to lift our spirits. As we are no longer viable statewide, it is clear that the party is dead.

(more…)

It is time for it to be re-built. I actually don’t think the main task is for us to change our policies or philosophy, you might be surprised to read. For instance, I am proud of my strong convictions about citizens, corporations, and government – convictions that are not going to change at all. The majority of people I know agree with me on these basic things. And you know where I live. (It’s just the Republicans they hate – but not me.)

I think we need to talk about what coalitions will get behind Republican ideas before we talk about party registration numbers. I think we need to become much more inclusive. I think we need to be a lot more tech-savvy. I think we need to become much more about policy. I think we need to unfriend all of the angry voices in our party who build nothing. I think we need to sit down with the Young Republicans and College Republicans and ask them what they want from this country and what kind of Republican party will help them get there. I think we need, more than anything else, to distinguish ourselves from the national GOP.

There will be much recrimination in the days to come. A lot of blaming the voters. A lot of people who always think that if we were just more conservative, people would vote for us. A lot of excuses around circumstances – such as the presidential turnout.

But I think most of you know that there is something fundamentally wrong with the party at a national level, and especially in Massachusetts. We need to put everything on the table and figure out what it means to be a Republican in Massachusetts. That will take time. But we have time now.

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22 comments

  1. I know the typical response to a disastrous election night is to say what you are saying.  Please resist.

    I do not believe the Republican party is dead, either here or across the nation.  I believe it is not managed by capable and deserving people.  I say that the same way I say it about the church.  So many churches are failing to attract new people with genuine excitement for the truths of Christianity.  It isn’t the fault of the Christian belief system or dogma – it is the fault of those running the church.

    By the same token, I believe in the Republican platform.  I believe we should spend some time reflecting on what it is that makes us ‘real’ Republicans and then articulate that on paper and fight for it.  

    I get emails everyday from local RTCs that are so desperate to get people to show up for a single event.  ‘Come hold a sign’, ‘come join the meeting’, ‘come help us plan an event’ they say.  The response is silence.  For some reason people don’t want to go out and preach about the Republican brand.  They don’t believe in the brand anymore and it is not because the brand has changed, but rather because they are afraid to speak of the Republican brand with pride.  Without changing the party we need to change the tactics.

    We should:

    1. Start rebuilding local town committees. Get younger more positive and excited leaders involved.

    2. Target young people with energy.  No more RTCs with a table of grey haired grannies that can’t stay awake after 8pm.

    3. Meet regularly and support each other.  Encourage each other to attend meetings, have coffee, share dinner, hang out.  Only when we know and respect each other will we be willing to make the extra effort.

    4. Train the workers, and build a team.  Find young people that would be willing to grow into local ‘elected’ positions as a farm team.  Find candidates for school committee, selectman, planning baord, etc.  Start small and grow into the larger positions.

    5. Build the machine.  Get connected with not only social media, but the actual physical machinery of a political team i.e. mailing lists, phone numbers, local activist groups, websites, etc…   It doesn’t seem as though the Republicans want to make the extra effort.

    There is a system of building small teams into powerful groups.  It is Storm, Norm, Conform, Perform.

    Storm – get to know each other and create personal relationships.

    Norm – Find out your common experiences and desires.  Connect on a persona level.

    Conform – Agree to work toward a common goal, and be willing to agree to commitments of time and money.

    Perform – Get the job done.  

    Republicans aren;t good at these things….

  2. While there is no way to spin last night into anything but a failure, I would not say the Mass GOP is dead. Much the same was said about the national GOP after 2008, and it revived itself after just 2 years. The party was arguably in similar or worse shape in 1986 when we had trouble even fielding a candidate for Governor. It also turned itself around and had it’s best year in 1990.

    As John Kennedy said, “When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”

    Yes, the party is crisis, but how we handle that crisis is what will ultimately seal the party’s fate in Massachusetts.

  3. Clint was right about one thing- when a guy doesn’t get the job done, you gotta let him go.  Bobby McG, that means you.

  4. Everyone switch to Independent from here on out and that’s what all our candidates run as.  Forever more the races will be D vs I.

  5. If this past election tells us anyting, its that it is time for new leadership!! While this applies to the State House and Senate, the Senate has only 4, so a change in power wouldn’t do much. The House though needs to have change!!! The same Minority Leader for how many terms?? If this was a Dem, we would say its time for that person to leave. I hope as we get closer to January a current member of the house steps up!!! What good is Minority leader if there is no real fight put up against the opposition?!

  6. The way forward?

    http://bostonglobe.com/opinion

    Maybe what it really needs are more “Fattman Republicans.”

    Ryan Fattman is a young state representative from Sutton, first elected to the Legislature two years ago and reelected last week with 70 percent of the vote despite a strong Democratic challenge. Talk to Fattman about Republican prospects in Massachusetts, and he doesn’t bend your ear with laments about a toxic “brand” or how the national GOP platform is too extreme. He talks instead about liberty, limited government, and low taxes. About how the “R” after his name stands for “reform.” About how Massachusetts is one of the most difficult states to do business in, thanks to a Democratic monopoly that is “intrusive and expensive.”

    Instead of trying to recruit big names to run for office, Fattman says, the state GOP should be focused on the grass roots. The party needs candidates with close ties to their communities and the patience to learn the political ropes. But above all it needs candidates who can explain, with enthusiasm and clarity, what Republicans are offering: a Massachusetts “that empowers its citizens with autonomy and initiative.”

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